Reaching the unreached: innovative sexual and reproductive health programming with young
people most at risk in cities
A. Mishra, L. Chigona, P. Kimmumve, S. Ali, J.C. Louis
Panos Global AIDS Programme, Port au Prince, Haiti
Issues: Though HIV prevalence among
young people is declining in several countries,
number of young people continue to be infected with HIV. Studies have shown
that adolescent sexual health services are not reaching groups outside
of the mainstream and at highest risk for infection, such as those who are not
attending school; or living on the streets.
overall objective of the project is to improve sexual and reproductive health services
for most at risk, out of school young people especially girls in four cities by
educating, building life skills and empowering them to communicate their
concerns to decision makers. It will work with the media to train journalists
on issues facing young out of school children to ensure that public debate and
discussion around their concerns is stimulated in the four cities. The project
will also sensitise key policy makers and decision makers at city and national
level to concerns of young people most at risk.
Lessons learned: To be effective programmes for young people should be
based on evidence, tailored to local realities and developed with the
participation of young people with attention to engaging those most at
risk. To bring about change it is most
important to provide young people with opportunities to highlight the challenges
they face themselves rather than have a secondary partner act as a mediator.
Innovative communication methodologies will
not only increase knowledge levels of hard to reach adolescents but also
help them in providing firsthand accounts and evidence of access of services to
key stakeholders. Such immediacy is likely to promote greater empathy, and promote
more lively debate.
Next steps: Best practice, project
findings and lessons learnt will be
disseminated widely to policy makers and programme planners to improve sexual
and reproductive programming for young people.
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